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The Homeplace Corn Program

Heirloom varieties celebrate the past and prepare for the future

By Billy Joe Fudge
President, Homeplace on Green River, Inc.

A great many things are happening at Homeplace on Green River. Among them is our Heritage, Open Pollinated, non-GMO, Corn Program. Many people ask why we are beginning this program and the answer is not very complicated. Last year and continuing this year, the world, including us here in the United States have seen shortages of many products, particularly many food items.

These shortages have been a result of supply chain issues in producing, processing and distributing many of the meats and vegetables we eat and products we use. We here at Homeplace, as do many of you, know how to be better prepared the next time a major catastrophe threatens our very existence.

Our subsistence farmers, forefathers, and communities had it figured out in ten words; "grow what you can, process it and preserve it locally"! Today we have strayed dangerously far away from that simple admonition. In fact there are major impediments to doing so and that leads us back to our Homeplace Corn Program.

There are tens of thousands of acres of corn being grown within a 20 mile radius of most of our homes here in South Central Kentucky. Did you know that a farmer is forced into buying seed to plant each spring? Did you know that the seed companies own a patent on the hybrid seed they sell? Did you know that should the farmer attempt to save his seed from his corn crop to plant the next spring, he could go to prison? It's true.

Here at Homeplace we are seeking to raise these heritage, open pollinated varieties that were developed dozens and dozens of years ago and in some cases hundreds of years ago. These varieties have no patents and when you harvest the corn all you have to do is save enough seed to plant your next year's crop and use or sell the rest.

Announcements will be coming soon concerning locally sourced, fresh, whole cornmeal grown and made right here in South Central Kentucky. We can do this thing together as long as we remember those ten words for us and our communities, "grow what you can, process and preserve it locally!"

This story was posted on 2021-09-14 20:42:07
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HGR raising heritage, open pollinated varieties of corn

2021-09-14 - Taylor Co., KY - Photo courtesy Homeplace on Green River.
By Billy Joe Fudge

On the Left is Boone County White. It was developed after the Civil War in Boone County Indiana by repetitive selection of particular grains from a corn called White Mastodon. Notice there are a few grains that were cross pollinated by pollen from a different variety nearby.

Second from the left is Indian Corn. It is used a lot as seasonal home decor but is a good corn for a lot of uses.

Third is Bloody Butcher. There are a couple different stories but it was developed in the middle 1800's in the mountains of West Virginia or Virginia. It was reportedly used a lot in the making of Moonshine and is gaining popularity with some small distilleries today such as Jeptha Creed in Shelby County, Kentucky.

And on the right is Hickory King. It was a local favorite in South Central Kentucky and was often mispronounced as Hickory Cane. It has large flat grains, a small cob and is readily identifiable by its eight rows of grain. In Southern Adair County where I grew up it was most often called Eight Row Corn. According to records, Hickory King was developed after 1880 by a Mr. A. O. Lee in Hickory, Virginia from a single ear of corn given to him by a friend.

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